Attending film festivals can be an awesome experience–seeing great new films on the big screen, walking the red carpet, and feeling the energy in the air can be inspirational to new and experienced filmmakers alike. But festivals serve another very important function for anyone in the industry–the networking opportunities at film festivals can make or break a career. In the fast-paced world of Hollywood, you never know who can help your career in the future. That fresh, new director you met at a small festival–she could turn out to be the next Scorsese, or the guy you were shooting the breeze with in the lobby could be the buyer for an international distributor or the casting director for one of the major studios. ¬†Film festivals may be the one opportunity you have to connect with the person that will give you your big break in the film industry.

So why don’t we hear more success stories about people getting their big break after meeting a big Hollywood player at a festival? Simple–most people come across as bumbling idiots! The vast majority of filmmakers and actors never take the time to prepare what they’ll say or how they’ll act when they do meet someone.